These days, we know that social media is an important component of your marketing, but many businesses have a hard time keeping up with all the demands of the online world. Smart business owners know that they need to keep the front line communication open between themselves and their customers, so I’ve put together a list of some tools to make it easier.
With a million things to do in a day, busy business people need to find a way to simplify and make the communication easy, direct and beneficial for both sides. These tools allow for pre-scheduling of posts, as well as engagement. It’s important to make sure that not every single post is scheduled in advance. People need time to communicate in the moment and have conversations.
Hootsuite is probably the most well-known of the social media scheduling tools. It allows you to manage several different social media platforms that they call streams. You can schedule posts in advance, monitor accounts and chat with your followers. They have great analytics tools as well. Hootsuite is free for up to 3 social profiles and it does include basic reporting. For only $9.99 per month, you can add up to 50 profiles and a more robust reporting system.
If you have heavy customer service requirements, Sprout Social is the tool for you. In addition to providing the ability to pre-schedule your content, it measures your response times and gives you the ability to create action items from your messages. Additionally, you can turn your social activities into workflows and reminders to really capitalize on the engagement. A great feature of Sprout Social is their Discovery tools that allow you to find new people to connect with and also removing connections that are no longer applicable. The base price for Sprout Social starts at $59 per month and it allows you to manage up to 10 profiles.
Buffer is great for scheduling updates ahead of time, but it doesn’t have any way to engage with your followers. There are some analytics, but what I like about Buffer is the extensions that it provides through Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Imagine surfing on the internet and finding a really cool article that you want to share with your community. But maybe you don’t want to share it right that minute, so with the extension, you can “Buffer” it for later. It goes into a queue and will be scheduled for another time.
Edgar invites you to schedule smarter. When you upload your content to the Edgar platform, it goes into an endless queue that gets recycled over and over again. We know that social media content is only viewed by a fraction of your audience, so by republishing your posts time and again, there is a greater chance that more people will see it. With help from Edgar’s analytics, you’ll know when the most popular times are to post so you can maximize your content. Meet Edgar is a great scheduling tool, but doesn’t allow for engagement. You’ll have to go to the native platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to chat with your followers.
I reviewed Rignite last year. I love the interface on Rignite! It’s easy to tell at a glance what’s been scheduled and what’s already been published. You can move posts around with ease and repost when necessary. They have great analytics, allow for team members to collaborate, and even have a built-in contest tool. You can engage with your followers and find influencers on Rignite. This is a very robust tool and one that I highly recommend. Also, their customer support is awesome!
The cool thing about Postplanner is the ready-made content that is already built into the platform. You can tell it what your industry is and it will search for content for you. It also allows you to repost your most popular posts at the best times for you. Need to post in the middle of the night? No problem. The other thing I like about Postplanner is the ability to bulk upload your content, which saves you a ton of time. It’s also incredibly reasonably priced starting at just $7 per month.
All of these platforms can save you loads of time, but I don’t recommend that you use them to “set it and forget it”. Social media works best when you use it to engage with others. Use the time you save to create conversations and relationships. If all you do is post content without engaging with your followers, you’ll just be broadcasting. It’s always best to communicate with a two-way conversation.